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Kurt Suzuki Rumors
Congratulations to the Braves, who clinched a postseason berth with a win over the Marlins last night. Though Atlanta still has a shot at the NL East title, they're more likely to play the National League's second Wild Card team in a one-game playoff once the regular season ends. Here are some links from the NL East…
- Trading for Gio Gonzalez and bringing back Davey Johnson were some of the most important moves the Nationals made last offseason, GM Mike Rizzo told MLB.com's Bill Ladson. Rizzo called Wilson Ramos Washington’s “catcher of the future,” but made it clear that the Nationals will have lots of playing time for Kurt Suzuki next year.
- Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen “blew his second chance” with Miami and doesn’t deserve another one in the opinion of FOX Sports writer Jon Paul Morosi. The Marlins stuck with the outspoken manager after his comments about Fidel Castro in April, but there are rumblings that his job is no longer secure.
- Someone like Nick Swisher could be “the ideal offensive fit” for the Phillies’ lineup, David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News writes.
- MLBTR's Mark Polishuk previewed a possible extension for Kris Medlen earlier today.
The Braves became the latest team to beat the struggling Astros tonight, winning a 4-1 result on the back of 7 1/3 innings of one-run ball from Tim Hudson. With the Braves' win and the Nationals' split of a double-header with the Marlins today, Washington is only two games up on Atlanta in the NL East. Here's the latest from around the division…
- With the Phillies looking to keep payroll under the luxury tax threshold, David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News looked at Reed Johnson, Jonny Gomes and Scott Hairston as right-handed hitting free agents who could be paired with lefty bat Nate Schierholtz for a productive outfield platoon that would come at a much cheaper cost than what the Phillies would have paid Hunter Pence in 2013.
- The Nationals don't see new catcher Kurt Suzuki as a "rental," GM Mike Rizzo told reporters (including CSN Washington's Mark Zuckerman). Suzuki is under contract through 2013 and the Nats plan to keep him along with regular catcher Wilson Ramos, who will be recovered from a torn ACL suffered in May.
- Fangraphs' Eric Seidman looks at how a Jason Bay for Heath Bell/John Buck trade would benefit both the Marlins and Mets in terms of salary relief and filling lineup holes. The two clubs had some discussions before the trade deadline about such a deal, though talks went nowhere at the time.
The Athletics traded catcher Kurt Suzuki and cash considerations to the Nationals for catcher David Freitas, the teams announced. It sounds like the A's are picking up most of Suzuki's 2012 salary and a bit of next year's salary, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports (on Twitter).
The move provides the Nationals with Major League catching depth to complement Jesus Flores and Sandy Leon. Washington manager Davey Johnson said Suzuki is a "number one catcher" who will bring a "veteran presence" to the Nationals, Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports (on Twitter).
Suzuki has posted a disappointing .218/.250/.286 batting line in 278 plate appearances so far in 2012. To his credit, he has prevented 38% of stolen base attempts against him this year (23 of 60) and the Athletics have an American League-best 3.43 ERA. The A's are now likely to rely more heavily on rookie catcher Derek Norris and recently-acquired backstop George Kottaras.
The 28-year-old Suzuki earns $5MM in 2012 and $6.45MM in 2013. His contract includes a $8.5MM club option for 2014 ($650K buyout). Evidently no American League team placed a claim on him when he hit the waiver wire. Every National League team but the Reds had to pass up chance to claim Suzuki for him to become available to Washington.
Freitas, 23, has a .271/.374/.407 batting line in 321 plate appearances at Class A Potomac this year. The Nationals selected him in the 15th round of the 2010 MLB draft.
Former University of Florida catcher Mike Zunino was named the Golden Spikes Award winner today, which recognizes him as the best amateur player in the county. Zunino was the third overall pick by the Mariners in last month's draft and recently signed for $4MM. Here's the latest from his new division, the AL West…
- Athletics GM Billy Beane did not deny that he has spoken to the Rays about catcher Kurt Suzuki, reports ESPN's Jim Bowden (on Twitter). Beane did say that he speaks to Tampa GM Andrew Friedman regularly, however.
- Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik has given no indication that he's willing to trade Felix Hernandez, but SI.com's Tom Verducci says they should make their ace available. He says the reality of Hernandez's age, workload, and contract should not make him untouchable.
- The Mariners designated Adam Moore for assignment last Sunday and have yet to make a decision about what they're going to do with him according to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick (Twitter links). The backstop has battled knee problems but agent Mike McCann insists his client is healthy.
- Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria told Gammons that he’s prepared to make additions to his team if necessary. "We still need a couple of parts, and in time we'll go get them," Loria said. The Marlins' offense ranks 14th in the National League in runs scored, so it won’t be surprising if president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest pursues a bat or two this summer.
- Athletics catcher Kurt Suzuki could make sense for the Marlins, Mets or Rays, Gammons tweets. The Marlins have John Buck and Brett Hayes behind the plate, the Mets have Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas, and the Rays have Jose Molina and Jose Lobaton. The A’s called up prospect Derek Norris, so they could be positioned to listen to offers for Suzuki.
Many baseball people expect the Padres to trade Carlos Quentin, but the team is in a fluid situation, so that assumption is not safe, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes. The Padres should have some payroll flexibility this offseason, so they could keep the outfielder despite their modest budget. Here are Rosenthal’s latest rumors:
- Jeff Francoeur has played through ailments and injuries this year and the Royals like his leadership, so they aren’t necessarily looking to trade him.
- Last August the Royals offered Melky Cabrera the same two-year, $13.5MM contract Francoeur eventually signed, but Cabrera declined the offer and the Royals traded him a few months later.
- Rosenthal suggests the A’s aren’t eager to trade veterans for marginal returns. The team is hovering around .500 and plays 18 of its next 28 games at home. The A’s would probably love to trade Kurt Suzuki, Rosenthal writes.
- One exec predicts the Phillies don’t have enough confidence in their outfield depth to trade Hunter Pence this summer.
- An agent predicts Cole Hamels will sign a monster free agent contract this coming offseason and Rosenthal says the Phillies won’t go near $150MM for six years or $175MM for seven years.
- Rival teams frequently ask about Darwin Barney and it’s possible the Cubs will trade the second baseman.
- The Orioles seem to have the most interest in trading for Diamondbacks left-hander Joe Saunders, Rosenthal reports.
- The Orioles’ Triple-A team, which includes Miguel Tejada, Jamie Moyer and Dontrelle Willis, tops the Orioles’ MLB team in career earnings, Rosenthal notes.
- One executive suggested a growing number of teams could request 72-hour windows to negotiate extensions with trade targets this summer because of the provision in the new collective bargaining agreement that prevents teams from obtaining draft pick compensation for players acquired midseason. However, players wouldn’t necessarily be interested in signing and it’d cost teams time and leverage.
With Opening Day right around the corner, the Yankees are set to enter the 2012 season with tremendous pitching depth. Yesterday, we learned that the Bombers offered Freddy Garcia to the Marlins but couldn't get the Fish to bite on a deal. Here's more on the Yanks' pitching and other items out of the American League East..
- The Rays say that they haven't talked with the A's about Kurt Suzuki, tweets Buster Olney of ESPN.com. Earlier today, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe wrote that the Rays have been pushing hard to land the catcher.
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes the Yankees' wealth of left-handed pitching this season is a change of pace from what they've had in years past. Aside from a David Wells here or a Sabathia there, Sherman argues that the club hasn't been successful when it comes to developing and importing lefty arms.
- Players' union president Michael Weiner is happy about the Rays increased payroll and hopes to see the club's attendance numbers rise along with it, writes Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Owner Stuart Sternberg has said they made the increase essentially as an investment, hoping that spending beyond their means will lead to more wins, and, in turn, better attendance.
- Brett Lawrie told Jayson Stark of ESPN.com that he wasn't thrilled with the way that the Brewers were looking to develop him and happy to be dealt to the Blue Jays.
In today's column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe argues that two best players at catcher and shortstop positions in camp with the Red Sox organization are Ryan Lavarnway and Jose Iglesias and believes that they absolutely should be on the final 25-man roster. There could be disagreement from different factions of the club about what to do with the two players and it'll be interesting to see how it all turns out. Here's more from Cafardo..
- The Rays have been trying hard to get A's catcher Kurt Suzuki but Oakland isn’t crazy about getting Wade Davis or Jeff Niemann in return. One National League GM points out that those are the type of pitchers that Billy Beane winds up trading and would want a higher grade of pitcher. Right now, the Rays aren’t willing to pay that price.
- The idea that Roy Oswalt wants to play in the Midwest or South can be overcome with money, according to a major league source. To get him, Cafardo writes that the Red Sox have to loosen their purse strings.
- Major league sources say that the Pirates would entertain a deal for right-hander Kevin Correia.
- The Angels asked the Nationals about Jordan Zimmermann, but there’s no chance unless they part with someone like Mike Trout, and that’s not happening.
- Red Sox outfielder Darnell McDonald could get some bites if he gets squeezed out in Boston. The Indians, Giants, and Braves are all looking for a righthanded-hitting outfielder.
- The Yankees are being a little careful about trading their pitching depth, but it appears Freddy Garcia would be available at the right price, which may be high.
- White Sox pitchers Gavin Floyd and John Danks are both available in the right deal, but according to one GM, Kenny Williams will want at least "two A-level prospects and a third that’s a notch below, and that might not get it done."
The Rangers, Reds and Yankees have some of the top infields in baseball, when offense and defense are considered, ESPN.com's Buster Olney writes. Olney suggests the Royals, Blue Jays and Indians have infields that are potentially on the rise. Here are his latest rumors…
- Some rival executives strongly believe that the Nationals will be the eventual landing place for Prince Fielder. Agents say now is the time for Fielder to take advantage of the market and sign a long-term deal, according to Olney. Click here for the latest on Fielder, who was linked to the Nationals again today.
- Olney suggests the Red Sox and Nationals could have interest in Cubs outfielder Marlon Byrd, who will earn $6.5MM in 2012, the final year of his contract. The Red Sox could play Byrd in right and the Nationals could use him in center.
- Though trading catcher Kurt Suzuki isn’t a priority for the Athletics, Olney suggests he’ll likely be playing elsewhere by the time next summer’s trade deadline passes (Twitter link).
- A's people mention the Dan Haren deal as a point of reference for Gio Gonzalez trade talks, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. The A's obtained Carlos Gonzalez and Brett Anderson for Haren, so it's clear they'll be looking for top prospects in any deal involving the 26-year-old Gonzalez. Andrew Bailey is "more available" than Gonzalez, according to Slusser, but the A's aren't in a rush to make a move despite interest in both pitchers.
- Slusser suggests the A's could also trade Grant Balfour or Brian Fuentes.
- Kurt Suzuki's trade value isn't particularly high, so the backstop may stay put in Oakland, Slusser writes.
- Free agent left-hander Darren Oliver told Drew Davison of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that re-signing with the Rangers would be his “first choice, no doubt.” The Rangers will be looking to add lefty relievers this offseason.
- Rangers GM Jon Daniels told reporters, including Anthony Andro of FOXSportsSouthwest that he's realistic about re-signing C.J. Wilson, though he hasn't ruled the possibility out (Twitter link).
- Click here to read about Joe Nathan’s deal with the Rangers and here for the latest on the Angels.